The Age of Man Myth by Hesiod example

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The Age of Man

The Age of Man is a myth, written by Greek poet Hesiod in his epic Works and Days between VII and VI century BC. It offers the mythological explanation of the cultural and moral decline of the generations. According to the author, the last Iron Race which takes us back to the author’s times, was the example of most severe decline, degradation and suffering. Starting from the Golden Race, mankind was later transformed into the Silver Race, followed by the Bronze Race, then came the Race of Heroes, and finally – the Iron Race. The distinctive theme of the myth is the transformation of the moral values and cultural decline of the following generations. Close reading can reveal the exact reasons of such transformations.

The first and most praised by the author is the Golden Race. The Golden Race main characteristic is happiness. Godlike race had neither known the burden of hard work, nor the bitter taste of sorrow:

And like the Gods they lived with happy hearts

Untouched by work and sorrow (45).

Carefree, tranquil and vigorous, it was saved from troubles of any kind, and even death came to men unnoticed. Absence of worries led to peace and happiness. It is the race of people in its best, not driven by competition to survive as well as freed from drag of labor. It is the race of people, who answer with gratitude and obey the generous Gods. Following the Golden Race came the Silver Race. The main characteristic of this age is greed. The Silver race already stands much further from Gods – although created by Gods, “a child was raised at home a hundred years” (45), meaning that the given generation had already lost its divine features. Not only did they have fights, but also dared to ignore the cult of sacrifice. This age is the first stage of human degradation, and it emphasizes the distance between the divine nature and the human nature that lacks self-control and gratitude. The third race in a cycle is the Bronze Race and the main characteristic of this age is violence. Humans of this race were only keen on war and destruction, as a result, eliminating its own kind. Hesiod describes the bronze race as strong and powerful, but also strange and terrible:

Sprung from the ash tree, worse than the silver race,

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